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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Conversations With the Dead: 11/5/79 Houston, Texas


Dear Teresa,

Well honey, I guess you've been wondering why I haven't written. Your mother has been going through another crisis. Phil started drinking again, and of course I ended up doing it too. It's just not going to work for us. As nice a guy as he is, I just can't go it anymore.

He won't go to AA and it just seems like we've both changed or something, and even when there's no drinking, it's not like before. I guess I really don't have any business with anyone. I can make it alone, and with AA, but trying to have a relationship with anyone at this stage seems impossible. (I'm talking about men in general). I have to try to really get into AA again (like I was in church, in fact, I had even started going back to church) and try to grow up, and get to where I can like myself before I can get involved with anyone. You know me. Whole hog or nothing.

And I just flat cannot drink. I get worse, and meaner, every time, and part of it is because I dislike myself so much, and I take it out on other people. It has to stop. I can't be in AA like I need to, and do the things I need to do, and live with Phil. So if I want to change, and if I want to learn to live, I have to give him up. Sounds simple, but it's not easy. I hate to hurt him. It'd be much easier if he were a jackass, but he's not. But I have to put staying sober first, and he's not ready to do that, and I can't do it by staying with him.

But anyway, I've got a new address and I wanted to let you know what was going on. I'm staying at a halfway house with some other women right now, so unless I can get a job and a car awful fast (and an apartment!) it looks like you coming down here in December will have to be put off. But this is where I need to be right now. And I can live here, and work, and maybe get things worked out pretty soon, with my check. I pay rent here, but by working, and my check, I can make it in three months or so. I haven't even made up my mind to stay in Houston. In a way (because of you and Charlotte) I'd like to come back there. But we'll have to wait and see. First things first. Anyway, don't worry, because these are good people here, and I think this decision is going to be the turning point. We all have to grow up, and learn to stand on our own two feet, and I think it's about time I did that.

I love you honey, and I'm so very proud of you. Just keep it up, and write me here. I may be coming back soon, for good. Then we'll be able to see each other often. But I have to "get it together" first. But I love you, and "turd-head" Charlotte, too (you tell her for me, and tell her to send me a picture of the baby). Write me.

Love, Mother

P.S. A girlfriend of mine is keeping Charlie and he's doing fine. I'm sure he'd say HI, too.

About ten years ago I found a resale shop in Houston and went in. I got to talking to an employee and learned that the women who ran the shop lived in a halfway house next door. Some were running from abusers, some were running from addiction. I realized that this is where you wrote this letter from, the place on Dupont. I feel disappointment even as I type this because although this was a turning point for you, it was a brief pause in just another U-turn.

You are right about staying single, but you'll lose your resolve in six months.

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